Parents of children with and without disabilities share the very same dreams: to raise each child to meet his or her potential and offer that child the very best opportunities. It is this dream that drives us at CCSE. A dream that offers all children the opportunity for a Catholic education. A dream that provides a choice rarely available to students with developmental disabilities: the choice of attending their parish school with siblings and peers. A dream of belonging to the community, where reverence and Christian values are the guiding principle, and where individuals with disabilities can share their individual gifts with others.
However when raising a child with a disability some dreams are left behind, as parents begin an unexpected and frequently challenging journey. All children are welcomed into God’s family at Baptism and Jesus teaches us to welcome all the little children “Don’t turn the children away. The kingdom of heaven belongs to little children like these. I tell you solemnly that the people who do not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (St. Matthew 19: 13-15). And yet when it comes to education many Catholic children with disabilities are unable to attend their parish schools due to limited resources. This is where CCSE steps in to help parishes and their schools access the resources they need to welcome all God’s children.
Many children with disabilities are blessed with and driven by a spirit to succeed despite the odds against them. Given the right opportunities, this spirit will lead these children to become productive members of their community. The light must continue to burn for these exceptional individuals. Spirit and light are not words used casually, but with profound faith that their parents have been specially chosen and called upon by the Lord to guide these very special children to success.
Ultimately CCSE’s activities will enrich the lives of those with and without disabilities and will promote acceptance of differences and a celebration of spirit and uniqueness.
CCSE was formed by a group of parents of children with disabilities who share this vision and who are committed to turning dreams into reality.
Please join me in making a difference in the lives of God’s very special children as we work towards promoting a shift in attitudes and providing hope, possibility and change.
Catholic Coalition for Special Education, Inc.